Fans of ABC’s Shark Tank were all abuzz on Friday night, as 10-year-old Austinite and Founder of BeeSweet Lemonade™ Mikaila Ulmer accepted an offer from mogul and FUBU CEO Daymond John. The noted branding expert negotiated a sweet deal with the pint-sized businesswoman, offering her $60,000 for a 25% stake in the budding beverage company.
Winning John over with her passion, wise-beyond-her-years business savvy, and–of course–her perfectly sweetened lemonade, Ulmer is set to gain far more than just a monetary investment from partnering with the street-smart shark. John will work closely with Ulmer, serving as a mentor and using his business connections to help further the brand. The team is already working with John to get the lemonade into a number of targeted nation-wide retailers. “Partnering with Mikaila made perfect sense,” said John. “She’s a great kid with a head for business and branding. She’s got a great idea and I’m happy to help take Bee Sweet to the next level,” he added.
Made and bottled with love in the heart of the Lone Star State, BeeSweet Lemonade was born out of a rather serendipitous chain of events in 2009, when then four-year-old Ulmer was brainstorming ideas for the Action Children’s Business Fair and getting ready to participate in Austin Lemonade Day. First, two bees stung her in one week. Rather than have her be afraid, Ulmer’s parents urged her to research how important honeybees are to the ecosystem. Ulmer quickly became fascinated by bees, and realizing that colonies across the globe were in danger, decided she wanted to help. Then, a surprise arrived in the mail–her great-grandmother sent a 1940s cookbook with a special recipe for flaxseed lemonade. And just like that, Ulmer caught the social entrepreneur bug.
Putting a healthy twist on an old-fashioned favorite, BeeSweet Lemonade is made with flaxseed and locally sourced honey to sweeten and add Omega-3 essential fatty acids to the drink. Naturally caffeine-free and with no artificial ingredients or high-fructose corn syrup, BeeSweet Lemonade is currently available for purchase on the company’s website, at Whole Foods Markets in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, and at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food delivery companies. Ulmer also donates 10% of BeeSweet Lemonade’s profits from sales to local and international organizations fighting to save the bees.
The $60,000 investment is earmarked for increasing production and will allow the company to create larger batch runs of its signature lemonade in order to keep up with demand. With the Shark Tank win helping to propel her business, Ulmer now has her sights set on expanding her reach in Texas and throughout the U.S. “I’m so exited to have someone with as much experience as Daymond on my team,” says Ulmer. “This is a great opportunity to have more people try my lemonade and help save even more bees!” She’s also looking forward adding two additional flavors to store shelves: lemonade with prickly pear and lemonade with iced tea will be joining the original with mint and ginger flavors this spring.
About BeeSweet Lemonade and Mikaila Ulmer
Mikaila Ulmer founded BeeSweet Lemonade at the age of four, after two major events: She was stung by a bee–twice in one week, and her Great Granny Helen sent a her 1940’s cookbook, which included a special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade. From there Mikaila transformed her fear of bees into a passion for social entrepreneurship. Her healthy lemonade uses fresh mint, flaxseed, with a percentage of the profits form sales going to local and international organizations fighting to save the bees. Her recipe won “Most Creative Lemonade” in Austin’s 2011 Best Lemonade contest. Since then, Mikaila has been awarded Teen-preneur of the Year Award by Greater Austin Black Chamber and Best Kid-trepreneurial Biz 2013 by The Austin Chronicle.
Today, the award-winning BeeSweet Lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of Whole Foods Markets in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, and is available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food delivery companies. In addition to making BeeSweet Lemonade, Mikaila conducts peer-led workshops about entrepreneurship and saving honeybees. For more about BeeSweet Lemonade, events, recipes, and retail locations, please visit www.beesweetlemonade.com
credit – blackgirlnerds.com